There’s great news of a breakthrough in healthcare for Deaf people in England. And it is free to call.
The NHS111 health advice line in England can now be contacted using BSL. It is being run for the NHS by InterpreterNow (a SignHealth company).
Interpreters are fully qualified and experienced. They are provided by a network of agencies, including Sign Language interactions in Scotland, the Nottinghamshire Deaf Society, and Deaf Direct in Worcester.
The pilot service will run for a year, and it is open from 8am to midnight every day.
what is it for?
NHS111 is a health advice line. It is not for emergencies.
When you call it you are in contact with trained medical staff, who will ask questions to try to work out where you will get the best care.
Use the NHS111 BSL line when …[clear-line]
you need help quickly, but it is NOT an emergency
you think you might need to go to A&E
you don’t know who to contact, or your GP is not available
you need health information, or advice on what to do next
If you have an emergency it should be reported to 999. At the moment there is no BSL service to access 999. Deaf people can use texts from mobiles, but the mobiles must be registered in advance.
Deaf people in Scotland have been able to use BSL to contact the Scottish version of NHS111, called NHS24, since earlier this year. That service is accessed through contactScotland, which is operated by InterpreterNow for the Scottish Government.[clear-line]
how to make contact
Click on the blue “Connect” button, on the right of the screen, just underneath the NHS logo.